NEW DELHI --- At a time when the Russians have offered to sell 40 more Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft to India, it seems that the Air Force is not keen to add more of these heavyweight and expensive to maintain fighter jets in its inventory.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) already has more than 220 of these Russian planes in its fleet and has plans of inducting all the 272 planes ordered by it over the years by the end of 2020.
"The Russians along with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which assembles the planes in India, have offered to sell 40 more of these planes to the Air Force but the Air Force does not seem to be very keen on acquiring them due to the heavy cost of maintenance which makes them very expensive to manage in the long run," government sources told Mail Today.
The Air Force also feels that it has already acquired the required number of fighter planes in the heavy weight category as almost 50 per cent of its fleet comprises the Sukhoi-30s and the plane would be the mainstay of the force in the next few decades, the sources said.
On the claims by the vendors that the Sukhoi-30s cost almost one-third of the French Rafale 36 of which would be joining the force in 2019, sources said the Russian plane costs three times more for maintenance than its existing western origin plane taking into account the man hours required for keeping the plane serviceable. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the India Today website.